Posts Tagged ‘boreal forest’

Sunset on the Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario

I was quite pleased to register 9 folks for the Rusty Old Wrecks Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop that was announced yesterday for Saturday, November 3rd. That leaves only one spot available!

Immediately after the conclusion of this year’s Lake Traverse Workshop I traveled north to Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands to scout a specific area for a 2020 workshop. Once the logistics for the trip are finalaized the announcement will be made. If you would like to be on the contact list for this workshop please do send me an email by clicking here.

I spent two days exploring a distinct section of the Moose River and the gyspum cliffs and caves that adorn a section of the river bank. The area is only accessible by canoe. I hired expert wilderness guide, canoeist, and all round fantastic guy Rick Isaacson to help me access the area. Rick is also the guide we will be using for the Abitibi Canyon / New Post Falls Workshop in July 2019. For many the Abitibi Canyon / New Post Falls and the Moose River trips will be once in a lifetime opportunities to explore remote areas of the province that are rich in stunning landscape opportunities. Don’t miss your chance to see New Post Falls – it is the most beautiful and impressive waterfall in all of Ontario!

Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario

The highlight of the scouting trip was visiting the white gypsum cliffs and caves that adorn the banks of the Moose River, a short paddle downstream from our campsite. Some of the cave openings were not that large but I was able to squeeze in and use my Laowa 12mm lens to capture as much of the cave details as possible. My lens choices for the trip were my Laowa 12mm Zero D, Nikon 18-35mm, Nikon 28-300mm, and the Nikon 200-500mm Lens. Scroll down to see some additional images created during this scouting trip to ontario’s remote boreal forest within the James Bay Lowlands.

Gypsum Cave on the Moose River
James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Gypsum Cliffs and Caves on the Moose River
James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Gypsum Cliffs and Caves on the Moose River
James Bay Lowlands, Ontario


Gypsum Cave on the Moose River
James Bay Lowlands, Ontario

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Join Andrew McLachlan and Rick Isaacson on July 9th & 10th, 2019 for an exclusive, breathtaking journey to one of Ontario’s most spectacular waterfalls hidden deep within the remote boreal forest of the Abitibi Canyon. We will travel by freighter canoe, for 21 kilometres, along the same route used by the Coureurs De Bois and Voyageurs in the 1800’s. We will have the opportunity for a short photo session at a Hudson Bay gravesite found along the banks of the Abitibi River that is over 120 years old. This gravesite is only accessible by canoe. We will explore New Post Falls from below and make our way up the side of the gorge to photograph the falls from above too. The timing of this tour has been arranged when water levels are typically lower, which may allow for the opportunity to photograph the waterfall from within the river gorge itself.

This exclusive opportunity is available to only 4 participants!

After a full and exhilarating first day we will camp at the base of New Post Falls. As we gather around the campfire Rick Isaacson will explain the history and tell us stories of life on the river.  Afterwards, if skies are clear we will enjoy a night-scape photo session and perhaps the Aurora Borealis as well. We will rise early the next morning to photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and continue to photograph the surrounding area until it is time to paddle upstream to our take out location at Abitibi Canyon.

Do note this is not a photo tour for the faint of heart. We will be camping over-night in very remote boreal forest. Our guide, Rick Isaacson is a seasoned woodsman, with 35 years of river tripping experience. He has made countless trips down the Abitibi River to New Post Falls and is well experienced in remote wilderness travel, not to mention very knowledgeable in the history of the area. Safety will be a top priority during this trip and we will follow Rick’s direction in that regard.


  • Meet in Smooth Rock Falls on the morning of July 9th 2019 for a hearty breakfast
  • Travel as a group to the Abitibi Canyon to launch the freighter canoe at 8:30 am
  • Travel 21 kilometres to New Post Falls where we will spend the day photographing the area and where we will camp over-night.
  • On the morning of July 10th we will photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and explore other photo opportunities in the surrounding area. The exposed river bed is a great place to find fossils.
  • Launch the freighter canoe to return to Abitibi Canyon at 3:30 pm on July 10th (there may be opportunity to extend our time a couple of hours depending on the current weather conditions at the time.
  • On route, just before we launch there will be opportunities to photograph the very scenic Abitibi Canyon gorge.

What’s Included:

  • Tent
  • In-depth photographic instruction with on-site LCD review to ensure that you are capturing the best possible imagery
  • Breakfast, Snacks, Dinner, & Beverages on Wednesday July 9th
  • Breakfast & Snacks, & Beverages on Wednesday July 10th

What’s Not Included:

  • Dry Bags for camera gear and clothing
  • Sleeping Bag

Maximum Number of Participants:

  • 4

Workshop Fee:

  • $850.00 CDN plus taxes
  • Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.
  • A signed Waiver of Liability must accompany your payment. Waiver of Liability forms will be provided via email to those who wish to register for this event.

 To reserve your spot in this once in a life-time opportunity a non-refundale retainer of $400 is due now. The balance of the payment is due on March 1st, 2019. Please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

This photo tour will run rain or shine.

Cancellation Policy:

Payment balance refunded 61 days prior to photo tour

No refund 60 days prior to photo tour

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This past summer, while returning from my remote boreal forest trip, in Ontario’s far north, I stopped to spend an evening in Halfway Lake Provincial Park. As it turned out, sunset was rather disappointing and the evening was becoming rather breezy with the clouds moving somewhat swiftly across the sky. I walked back to my campsite for the evening on the shore of Raven Lake and noticed these trees and their reflection in the lake and thought they would be a good subject for a silhouette. To add a twist and create some interest to the image I decided to capture the passage of time by adding a 3 stop neutral density filter and shoot a series of exposures at several minutes until the flowing clouds looked just right.

While returning from the same trip I shot the image below on the shores of Georgian Bay in Parry Sound, Ontario. I took notice of these rocks out in the water while I sat eating supper along the shoreline. Again, I thought this would make another interesting subject for capturing time. A 3 stop neutral density filter and polarizer were used to create a 30 second exposure that would give the waves a smooth, mist-like quallity. Thus simplifying the composition and drawing attention to the rocks.

Hope you like the photos.

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Here is one more image from my boreal forest trip up to the Abitibi Canyon in northern Ontario. I discovered some moose bones near one of the trails I walked. I thought this intact, lower jaw bone made for an interesting image. Discoveries like this always make me wonder what happened to this animal. I am no expert, but I did notice that the molars on this jaw bone were quite worn, possibly indicating that this was an old moose. Did it succumb last winter to old age or were wolves responsible for bringing down this majestic animal of the boreal forest, already weaken from age. It makes me wonder….

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Here is another photograph of the Abitibi River. This image was shot just above the Abitibi Canyon Dam at dusk. In hindsight, I would have preferred to shoot this scene as a panoramic image, I think the river’s shoreline lends itself to a panorama composition. Next time I make the 14 hour drive to this location I will make a note to shoot a panoramic here. I enjoyed traveling to this remote location in Ontario’s boreal forest, however, signs of human activity were also abundant. As I drove along the Otter Rapids Road I past many clear-cut logging sites, that have scarred the boreal forest with left-over brush piles and cut trees discarded on the ground. To learn more about boreal forests and their significant importance click here and here.

Below is one such example of the abandoned clear-cut logging sites I encountered along the way.

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My journey north to the Abitibi Canyon and beyond began on a long, lonesome two-lane highway (HWY #634). The above photo is what the road looked liked for the next 75 kilometers until I reached Fraserdale. No gas stations – absolutely nothing.  The day was a mix of sun and cloud and very warm also. As I began up this road I could see storm clouds forming in the distance, when the sun broke through some cloud cover and lit the road ahead I pulled over and positioned my camera close to the road and shot a series of images before the sun disappeared behind the clouds again.

Upon reaching Fraserdale, I took the 54 kilometer dirt road that leads up to Otter Rapids Dam. I stopped at a small bridge along the way to shoot this section of the Abitibi River with storm clouds looming overhead. At this particular section of the Abitibi River the blackflies were swarming terribly. By the time I reached my camping spot at the trial head to New Post Falls the thunder and lightning began along with a torrential downpour. At times like these I am glad my Subaru is my tent. The next morning I hiked in to New Post Falls, under clear skies, and shot the image below, prior to the sunrise. To shoot this photograph I used a 2-stop Singh Ray Grad Filter, to darken the sky, and a Nikon Polarizer to help saturate the colours a little bit. This one is one of my favorites from the trip so far….

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I have returned from my two weeks of shooting around Ontario. The first week was a bit of a wash as I spent several days searching around Horseshoe Lake for our family’s motor boat which has been stolen from our dock. No gas was kept in the boat and our motor was chained to the boat, but that did not deter the thieves – they towed away the boat presumably to cut the chain to get the new motor and ditch the 30-year-old boat. During the second week, I traveled to Ontario’s far north, literally to the end of the line, as far as roadways go. I have always been fascinated with the northern regions and have longed to visit them. This recent venture is by far the furthest I have traveled north in this province and I can’t wait to go back again. It is true wilderness, however, I also saw first hand the remains of clear-cut logging operations that have left permanent scars within Ontario’s boreal landscape. My road trip ended at the Otter Rapids Dam on the Abitibi River.

All images in this post are of the Abitibi River. One of my main destinations on this trip was to visit New Post Falls. In a word – IMPRESSIVE. To my knowledge this the northern most waterfall that a person can reach by automobile. A short 10-15 minute walking trail from dirt road takes you to the falls as pictured below.

The last image in this post was shot from the top of the Otter Rapids Dam looking north. From this location one can only travel further north by train or by canoeing down the Abitibi River. Note in this image that the birch trees, photographed on August 31st, are dressed in peak autumn splendor.

If you close your eyes you can almost see the fur traders heading down the river as they made their way to Hudson Bay long ago.

While driving home, near Gogama, a large Lynx walked slowly across the highway (no photos). I slowed down and watched in awe as this elusive predator disappeared into the forest.

Upcoming posts will feature other photographs from this trip. Hope you enjoy these first few that were processed during a lazy day of reviewing my images from the trip.

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